Latvia’s fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko became only the second defending champion to lose in the first round of Roland Garros when she slumped to a shock 7-5, 6-3 defeat by Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine on Sunday.
Russia’s Anastasia Myskina was the only other defending champion to lose in the first round in the Open era in 2005.
Kozlova, the world number 66, will face either former world number one Victoria Azarenka or Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic for a place in the last 32.
Svitolina battles through
Ukrainian fourth seed Elina Svitolina battled to 7-5, 6-3 win over Ajla Tomljanovic in the first round on Sunday.
The 23-year-old, who won her second consecutive Italian Open title last weekend, will next play either 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone or Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova.
Svitolina made a nervous start on Court Suzanne Lenglen, falling 5-1 down, but battled back and levelled the opening set as Tomljanovic dumped a backhand into the net after a bruising point. The Australian’s collapse was complete as Svitolina wrapped up the set with six consecutive games.
The world number four saved a break point in the first game of the second set, and finished off an ultimately comfortable victory on her first match point as Tomljanovic fired wide.
Despite consistently picking up good results on the main Tour, Svitolina is yet to make a big impact at Grand Slam tournaments, with her best efforts two runs to the French Open quarter-finals.
“To be ready for a Grand Slam is always the goal, the main goal for me. I try to do everything what’s in my power to play my best game on the Grand Slams,” she said.
“I just tried to find my way into the match and some points were shorter in the second set, some were longer,” she added. “I was trying to build my game, and I think in the end it was... Good for the first round.”
Venus knocked out by China’s Wang in first round
Former world number one Venus Williams suffered a shock defeat by Chinese player Wang Qiang in the French Open first round on Sunday.
The 37-year-old ninth seed was well short of her best as Wang claimed a 6-4, 7-5 victory and gained a measure of revenge for her first-round loss to Venus at Roland Garros last year.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion has now lost both her matches at major tournaments this year, having reached the Australian Open and Wimbledon finals in 2017.
Wang, the world number 91, has never made the third round of a Slam, and will face Petra Martic of Croatia for a place in the last 32 after the biggest win of her career.
World number nine Venus will now turn her attention to playing the doubles tournament with her sister Serena, who is competing in a Grand Slam event for the first time since last year’s Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter.
Stephens through in 49 minutes
Reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens eased into round two at the French Open with a 6-2, 6-0 thrashing of Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus.
The American 10th seed was utterly dominant from the off and raced to victory in only 49 minutes on Court 18. Stephens, who beat Madison Keys in last year’s US Open final, arrived in Paris in excellent form after winning the Miami Open title and breaking into the world’s top 10 for the first time.
The 25-year-old will next face either Polish qualifier Magdalena Frech or Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, both of whom are ranked outside the top 100.
Makarova first to win
Russian Ekaterina Makarova claimed the first win of the 2018 French Open as she brushed aside Zheng Saisai in the first round.
The 29-year-old, a two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, saw off her Chinese opponent 6-4, 6-1 out on Court Six in the sunshine at Roland Garros.
World number 35 Makarova will next face either Japan’s Kurumi Nara or Czech Barbora Strycova in round two.
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) bt Zheng Saisai (CHN) 6-4, 6-1
Barbora Strycova (CZE x26) bt Kurumi Nara (JPN) 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
Jennifer Brady (USA) bt Amandine Hesse (FRA) 6-1, 6-1
Petra Martic (CRO) bt Wang Yafan (CHN) 6-2, 6-3
Elina Svitolina (UKR x4) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 7-5, 6-3
Anett Kontaveit (EST x25) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
Sloane Stephens (USA x10) bt Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-2, 6-0